Author Topic: Caledonia Way or the Islands?  (Read 458 times)

Caledonia Way or the Islands?
« on: July 07, 2019, 02:23:31 pm »
I hoping to tap into the considerable YAFC collective knowledge with a decision that I'm trying to make about a short Scottish tour with 9 year old mini Joe during the coming school holidays.

Option 1 is a trip around Barra, South Uist and North Uist starting and finishing with the Oban/Castlebay ferry.
I've toured these islands before and know that they would be perfect for this trip however I was there in February 2017. Whats it like in July? are the roads that I found joyous to ride in winter clogged with cars and caravans in the summer?

Option 2 would be the Caledonia Way from Oban to Inverness.  I've ridden the Oban - Fort William section of this route before though not the section from Fort William to Inverness. 
The appeal of this route is that much of it is traffic free so perfect for 9 year old mini Joe. 

I haven't decided what we'll be riding yet, the little fella wants to ride his own bike but I might put him on the tandem instead.

 

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small just Far Away at the back
Re: Caledonia Way or the Islands?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2019, 09:18:39 pm »
The uists and Barra should be pretty quiet, as there's only 1 ferry a day to each from the mainland the number of tourists that can actually get there is limited!

It won't be as quiet as it once was with a bigger boat on oban/Castlebay and RET but the usual rule of the single track road still applies.

The Mallaig/lochboisdail ferry is hit or miss on operation due to the constraints of Mallaig Harbour so not very popular with tourists that have done their research, but is with the locals which can be quite good. When I took it the south uist music school were on their way to a party in Mallaig and were performing in the bar.

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Re: Caledonia Way or the Islands?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2019, 10:13:29 pm »
The uists and Barra should be pretty quiet, as there's only 1 ferry a day to each from the mainland the number of tourists that can actually get there is limited!


Plenty can come over from Skye though, and from Harris/Lewis and drive down through the Uists to Barra, and back up.

Midgies will be pretty horrendous on mainland, not so bad on islands if the wind stays up, but if it drops, then it can be bad there too.

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small just Far Away at the back
Re: Caledonia Way or the Islands?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2019, 10:55:58 pm »
Aye, the size of the Loch portain is a restricting factor though, always full but your looking at 60 cars a trip iirc and not that many journeys due to tidal restrictions, low tide is 30cm in places!

Anyway even with the traffic its still pretty quiet.

Edit: it's 34 cars on the portain

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Re: Caledonia Way or the Islands?
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2019, 12:14:22 pm »
The Fort William to Inverness part of the Caledonia way starts mainly off road and quite rough on the north side and after Fort Augustus there is a great big climb to Foyers on the south side but after that it’s easy going to Inverness.
I am often asked, what does YOAV stand for? It stands for Yoav On A Velo

Re: Caledonia Way or the Islands?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2019, 02:08:46 pm »
Many thanks for the reply's folks.

I worked out a route for the Caledonia Way which involved switching to a hired canoe at Fort William and paddling for a couple of days until the hire company collected the canoe/delivered our bikes at Laggan.  I though little Joe would love the idea but he's very wedded to the idea of a trip out to the Islands.

Having read the reply's here as well as some general googling I no longer have any great concerns about summer traffic on North/South Uist or Barra, as others have said the ferries only arrive once per day which makes the traffic surges quite predictable.

The main challenge now is packing a weeks worth of gear, plus wet-suits, fins and snorkels into 6 panniers.  (4 of them will be small front panniers too).     

Re: Caledonia Way or the Islands?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2019, 03:19:01 pm »
The Fort William to Inverness part of the Caledonia way starts mainly off road and quite rough on the north side and after Fort Augustus there is a great big climb to Foyers on the south side but after that it’s easy going to Inverness.

Can the whole route be done on a touring bike or would it need to be a MTB?  I have a tourer that is fairly robust, not sure I'd want to do the whole route on the MTB...